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Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) announced it has now provided discounts for more than one million high-efficiency compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). Through the program, customers who buy qualifying ENERGY STAR lighting receive in-store discounts of up to $2.25 per bulb at participating retailers in Southern Maryland. The discount program is part of the co-op’s EmPOWER Maryland initiative, which has a goal of reducing energy consumption in the state by 15 percent by 2015.

Jeff Shaw, SMECO’s environmental programs and energy conservation manager says, “This is truly a monumental energy efficiency and environmental milestone for both SMECO and our community. With our customer-members now using a million CFLs, we have achieved approximately 40,000 megawatt-hours in energy savings for Southern Maryland. That’s the equivalent of taking more than 5,400 cars off the road in terms of reduced carbon dioxide emissions.”

CFL bulbs that are certified by ENERGY STAR use 75 percent less energy and last up to 10 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. And because they require less energy to produce the same amount of light, they help to protect the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. SMECO customers may also receive a $10 in-store discount for qualifying light-emitting diode (LED) light bulbs.

SMECO’s appliance recycling program is also expected to recycle its 5,000th appliance by the end of September. Through th program, customers receive $50 when they have SMECO remove and recycle their old, inefficient working refrigerators or freezers. Customers may also receive $25 for room air conditioners that they have replaced with more efficient ENERGY STAR models.

Shaw adds: “Old appliances use up to four times more electricity than new ENERGY STAR certified models so this is a huge benefit to the environment, representing an annual energy savings of at least $1 million. Both the lighting and appliance recycling milestones are great testaments to our dedication to helping our customers save energy and save money.”

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